Blog #2: "Leagues Below The Sea"
About The Song:
The follow-up single to The Sick EP, "Leagues Below The Sea", was released on June 30th of 2022 along with my 1st ever music video.
Over the course of the last few years, I've noticed myself constantly being drawn toward songs which happened to have sea and ocean themed lyrics and imagery.
The idea drowning in the depths of the sea seemed to be a cathartic metaphor to me, especially when dealing with mental health issues such as my anxiety, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the general thoughts and emotions which come with feeling overwhelmed.
While spending over 10 years working painstakingly on "The Sick EP", I had to produce and play music on the side for fun to not only have fun, but to help me cope. While learning a more efficient and fun workflow, I noticed myself receiving large amounts of practice and training by writing/producing music for pleasure and as an outlet. This in turn increased my creativity and talent, while also leading a very large folder of song concepts which I started, but never finished. I saved them for later. I quickly grew overwhelmed and discouraged, but in recent years it became a source of happiness and excitement, focusing on how many wonderful ideas and rough drafts for potential songs I acquired. The folder started giving me peace of mind and excitement by the sheer virtue of metaphorical ammunition. I saw it's potential. A new and efficient workflow significantly reduced the grip which OCD, ADHD, and my general feelings of being overwhelmed had over my music project, and therefore my life; since my life has been dedicated to it since I was 17.
When it comes to this particular song, I believe I started it by playing around with some dubstep-like basslines and then adding the synthesizers which can be heard in the intro and verse 1. The introduction of this song has a smooth, simple bassline, while other parts of it have the classic "dubstep wobble bass" theme, starting at the 1st verse. It began with me playing around and writing some basslines that sounded super cool to me while using a synthesizer bass preset which had an amazing timbre and sonic character to me. I was having fun, but this time, with 95% less stress compared to the absolute Hell I put myself through while producing The Sick EP in my original and hard headed way. Efficiency lead to fun, fun lead to increased talent and experience, and the culminating result was another amazing song idea.
Next, I believe I added either the synthesizers playing those higher-octave treble notes, or some of the drums. This simple idea which I had conceived was quickly and rapidly beginning to develop into my favorite masterpiece thus far.
Eventually, I got to the chorus. I noticed it being simple, yet powerful; I then decided to do an experiment and see if adding a string section and (electronically produced) electric guitar riff via Impact Sound Works' "Shreddage" instrument in Kontakt. It worked. It may not be noticeable in the mix, especially the guitars, but the song does sound better to me when the guitars and strings are layered into the chorus. Next, I added a bassline on a virtual bass guitar instrument to copy the chorus as well.
The lyrics began with the first 2 lines in the very intro:
"Leagues below the Sea
Nothing under me"
Those were simply the lines which popped up into my head when I listened to the synthesizer melody. It fit perfectly. As much as I try to avoid copying my instrumental melodies with my voice, I loved it too much to let it go.
The feelings of being overwhelmed which I was exhibiting during the making of this song were not caused merely by the stress of my music project alone, but the EP not having blown up the way I wanted it to definitely played a part. I was so discouraged and depressed that I was super close to giving up on music altogether.
Even with the thousands of views due to ads for my music visualizer videos, I was still disappointed due to the lack of engagement I received online. Likes, reactions, and comments were low.
A laughing emoji and a random comment telling me "stop posting this garbage" definitely did not help.
As you can see, I decided to get back up and keep going. It took a long while of rest and telling myself that I would outlast it if I just held on, but I made it out as I usually do. Logically, I figured I would all along. But my emotions were telling me that I was close to doomed and hopeless. The human mind can conjure up some quite dreary delusions which can completely twist, warp, and misrepresent reality.
If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed or as if you were literally drowning in panic, you may be able to relate.
[Have you ever watched yourself drown?]
[Random Fun Fact: Several years ago, I came up with 2 rough draft song demos I never finished but saved for later. They were going to be the first 2 singles after I'd finish the EP. I'll still release them, but I loved "Leagues Below The Sea" so much that I had to release this one first. It was just better, even though it wasn't finished when I first made that decision. But when I go back to finish & release those 2 songs, I'll certainly apply all the new skills and inspiration that I've gained since the last time I worked on them. I'm excited for them too. I don't know when it'll be, but I am 100% sure that I will at LEAST release one more of my newer song ideas as a single before doing so. As I said, I have a large folder of sonic gold I've been saving up. I'm blessed to be able to simply and efficiently press "save" when I'm writing and producing new music for fun. It's not too different than when a traditional musician freestyles & composes new ideas on the spot when playing their instrument. I can play a good bit of keyboard too, by the way. The overwhelmingly vast majority of the time, I'm practicing my compositional skills while practicing my playing skills. I have very little interest in playing other composers' pieces. I am a composer and a lyricist before I am a musician, producer, or even vocalist. It took many years for me to be able to admit to myself that the compositional and lyrical aspects of the music creation process are the most enjoyable part to me, as well as my favorite.]
Cover Art Credits:
•7inchs from Pexels (Sea background with diver)
•Cristian Muduc from Pexels (Jellyfish)
•Mariana Montraz from Pexels (Hands)
[Edited, Layered, & Arranged by Denis Ashton]
About The Music Video:
What do killer clowns, jellyfish, sharks, people drowning in milk baths, scuba divers, and amazing music all have in common?
They’re all a part of Denis Ashton’s music video made entirely of free & legal stock footage! Can all of these seemingly random themes actually fit together cohesively to tell a story?
Find out in Denis Ashton’s 1st official music video release for the single “Leagues Below The Sea”!
The music video was entirely made of free & legal stock footage hosted on Pexels.com
This is not a paid statement. We are not involved with Pexels,
but we'd love to be an ambassador or sponsee.
For business inquiries or fanmail, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Although a part of the Pexels licensing agreement states that:
"Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not
necessary but always appreciated", I have tried to keep a record of names
for the Pexels users whose content I used for this music video.
If I missed you name by mistake, I'm sorry and please don't hesitate to contact me.
I want to thank every person on this list as well as Pexels.com
The following is a list of credits:
-Miguel Á. Padriñán
-Chris Munnik (2)
-Los Muertos Crew
This music video was compiled, edited, and cut
by Denis Ashton of Ashton Records using stock
video clips hosted on Pexels.com
Blog #1: "The Sick EP"
This record took a little over 10 years to create. The original first 2 songs for it were taken off because of their poor quality. So was the original "demo" version of the first song. They may be released in the future as part of a "B-Sides" version of The Sick EP.
Lyrically, this record is about how I was living my life during the time I wrote the lyrics. They're all stories about my life. When I was recording the vocals, I had already turned my life around. Through divine intervention and outside help, I do not currently drink anymore, and I'm not nearly as inconsiderate or "wild" as I was back then. Quite ironically, had I not stopped drinking, there's a good chance that I would not be writing this right now.
I ultimately decided to choose a music career over that, and quite frankly there were countless times where I put my vices over the music. I am not perfect, never have been, and never will be.
I had to END the "Rock & Roll Lifestyle" I was trying to imitate in order to actually succeed. And this was mainly through the divine intervention of God, some of my hard work, and the help and support of many others who poured their love, time, and energy into me.
It's all in good fun, and the general idea is to give happiness and "feeling alive" a chance. Music is the best way to party. Even if it's literally just you listening to music alone in the dark at night. Music did that for me in my younger days. Listening to party music WAS my party in those days. Zero substances required.
This is a raw, true, and real collection of the stories & passions of my past.
This is human. This is honest.
The song "Bitten (I Burn & I Fall)" is very metaphorical. The woman and the snake are all metaphors about the obvious, and how hard my lifestyle backfired on me when I challenged myself to a 30-day temporary break. from drinking
I wanted to "rip my face off", figuratively speaking.
I did make a mistake when I wrote the lyrics"C2H60" instead of "C2H6O", but it sounded very good to me when combined with "your taste, my kidney", so I decided to keep it in the lyrics and recorded this vocal line just the way I had it written. Just think of "60" as an alternate or slang pronunciation of "6O".
This is what "(O)" represents in the lyrics for this song as seen in the song metadata as well as on the "lyrics" tab of this site.
In the song "Adrenaline & Alcohol", (again, this was written back in my drinking days; I've been sober from alcohol for a few years now), when I say "Fuck needles, but I'll take shots any day", this is in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM a reference to Covid-19 or vaccinations. This was written long before Covid-19, and it was simply a play on words about how much I hate shots and getting blood drawn. I do get my vaccines and blood tests; I just hate needles. I was referring to my preference of shots of liquor over receiving medical shots. I still get them; I just hate the process of doing so.
In the song "Sick", when I said "break and bash, throw and smash by the fistful" it was figurative language in reference to my clumsiness, my tendency to break things, and my general "wild" behavior at times. I wasn't one to LITERALLY throw and smash furniture or anything of the sort. It was a figure of speech for my wildness. (And my inconsideracy, which I thought was "cool" at the time. But with age comes wisdom.) I still break things as I'm still a clumsy person, but I'm not nearly as inconsiderate as I was back then.
The acoustic outro of the song "Citrus" is not about an actual even. It is actually about some daydreams and fantasies I had. "Leather, and the smell of my cologne" is a reference to the reminiscent scents of my faux leather jacket and the cologne I wore quite often in college while in the process of earning my Associate Degree. I would enjoy the scents of what I was wearing during those bus rides. The spiteful and "tongue in cheek" nods at law and order in this song and in other songs were my attitude (with a grain of salt) at the time when the lyrics were written. I'm not perfect with this, but I do now have an understanding and appreciation of the need for at least SOME level of law and order. Everyone would die in traffic or murder each other if it weren't for that.
Speaking of "Citrus", this is the ONE AND ONLY song on this record where I recorded a "real" & natural instrument. I recorded my real acoustic guitar in the outro of this song using my vocal microphone. Everything else on this song and the rest of this EP was electronically produced. Including, the electric guitar sounds, piano sounds, string sounds, drum sounds, synthesizer sounds, etc.
Vocals are an obvious exception!
No prerecorded or pre-produced loops, melodies, or harmonies created by others were used on this EP.
Regarding the vocals, I used ZERO autotune or pitch correction. I do not judge anyone who does so, but I pride myself in my singing ability.
I do admit, however, that as much as I originally didn't want to, I ended up cutting and dragging some of the parts of the vocals (and the real recorded acoustic guitar in the outro of "Citrus") to fix time-alignment mistakes during the mixing process. It just felt like it had to be done. I wanted to make it sound as good as I could, and the rhythm and timing on this EP were a bit complex and abrupt. So naturally the vocals were quite a large challenge.
All of the lyrics, composition, writing, recording, the acoustic guitar performance at the end of "Citrus", music, arrangement, instrumentals, production, recording, vocal melodies & performances, audio engineering, and mixing & mastering were 100% exclusively done by Denis Ashton of Ashton Records.
I am the exclusive copyright owner of all of this.
THAT BEING SAID, I am NOTHING and could NOT have done this without God, along with the family members, friends, and acquaintances mentioned in the "Thank Yous" tab of this site, AND some others who were not mentioned in it as well as those who helped me in general in life. Especially with helping me with my vices.
I have self-released & published the Sick EP via Ashton Records, my own record label which I founded in 2012.
It is nothing more and nothing less than an idea to let the world know that I'm self-signed, independent, and serious.
This is my platform, and I am beyond blessed.